CLEVELAND — Rookie right-hander Jake Odorizzi anticipates his start Saturday against the Indians will be far more routine than his major-league debut last Sunday against the same club at Kauffman Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Im just going to go out and try to do the same thing I did the first time, he said, but I dont think there will be as many (butterflies). Definitely not. Im just going to go out and try to do well. Ill have the same game plan.
That game plan worked fine for five shutout innings last Sunday before Odorizzi weakened, and failed to survive, a three-run sixth. The Royals bullpen then imploded over the closing innings in a season-worst 15-4 loss.
Odorizzi, 22, is generally viewed as the Royals most advanced pitching prospect after going a combined 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA this season at Class AAA Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
One concern that scouts cite with Odorizzi, who is 6 feet 2 and 185 pounds, is a need for better stamina. His performance last Sunday did little to quell that concern.
Its late in the year, manager Ned Yost said, but hes going to have to get over that. I dont need another five-inning pitcher.
Odorizzi sees no advantage or disadvantage in facing the same club for the second time in seven days.
I think Id be preparing the same way even if it wasnt the same team, he said. But, hopefully, well be on the winning end, and Ill see if I can get into the seventh or eighth this time.
Hosmer, Escobar updates
Neither shortstop Alcides Escobar nor first baseman Eric Hosmer played Friday but each offered optimistic day-after assessments on shoulder injuries suffered in Thursdays 5-4 loss at Detroit.
Both players underwent MRI exams Friday morning; Escobars test came back clean. Hosmer was still awaiting results but said he was feeling a lot better.
Escobar said: Just today. My MRI didnt show anything. Im going to play (Saturday).
Manager Ned Yost was more cautious.
Well see, he said. Well go day to day with both of them. Its probably the same deal as last weekend (with catcher Salvy Perez). Well try to get them feeling better before we play Detroit in round two.
Yosts policy is to play his regulars as much as possible in late-season games against postseason contenders. Perez did not play last weekend at home against the Indians in order to be ready for this weeks four-game series in Detroit.
The Royals conclude their season with a three-game series against the Tigers that opens Monday at Kauffman Stadium.
The injuries to Escobar and Hosmer produced a lineup with a different look for Fridays opener at Progressive Field.
Utilityman Tony Abreu replaced Escobar at shortstop, while designated hitter Billy Butler started at first base, his old position, for just the 15th time this season. Backup catcher Adam Moore served as the designated hitter.
Yost opted for Abreu over Irving Falu both are switch-hitters because Abreu offered a better power threat from the right side against Cleveland lefty David Huff. Moore started, in part, because he hit a homer last Sunday against Huff.
Moore delivered an RBI double in three at-bats, but Abreu went zero for five.
The Royals rotation contains three pitchers ranked in the top eight this season in extra-base hits allowed. That nugget comes courtesy of Bill Chuck of billy-ball.com.
Its also a tad deceptive because Jeremy Guthrie, who ranks sixth with 78 extra-base hits allowed, surrendered much of that damage (58 extra-base hits) while pitching for Colorado.
Bruce Chen (No. 3 at 80 EBHs) and Luke Hochevar (No. 8 at 74 EBHs) are also on the list. The major-league leader is Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova at 87, followed by Arizonas Ian Kennedy at 84.
Outfielder Brett Eibner and infielder Mark Threlkeld each had four hits Thursday in leading Surprise, a combination Royals/Rangers team, to a 16-3 victory at Maryvale, a Brewers/Mariners combo team, in an advanced Instructional League game.
Eibner, 23, was the Royals second-round pick in the 2010 draft but has yet to approach expectations batting just .203 over the last two seasons at Class A Kane County and Class A Wilmington. He flashed power with 27 homers and 39 doubles in 196 games.
Threlkeld, 22, was the clubs 25th-round pick in 2011 and batted .283 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs this season in 62 games for short-season Burlington.
It was 35 years ago Saturday Sept. 29, 1977 that the Royals reached 100 victories for the only time in their 44-year history.
A 6-3 victory over the California Angels at then-Royals Stadium boosted the Royals to 100-59. They finished 102-60 before losing the American League Championship Series in five games to the New York Yankees.
The only other time the Royals won more than 92 games was in 1980, when they went 97-65 en route to winning the AL pennant.
• Third baseman Mike Moustakas committed an error by bobbling a routine grounder by Russ Canzler in the fifth inning. Moustakas made three errors in Thursdays loss at Detroit after going 47 games without an error.
• Billy Butlers 29 homers are the most by a Royal since Carlos Beltran hit 29 in 2002. The last player to hit more than 29 was Jermaine Dye with 33 in 2000.
• Alex Gordon went three for four and raised his average to .294. He also has 59 multi-hit games. The only players who entered the weekend with more were Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who each had 62.
• The Royals are 18-33 in series openers.
• The Royals must win one of the series two remaining games to win the season series. They currently hold a 9-7 edge.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to email@example.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.